Sunday, February 12, 2012

Winding Down for Iron Horse 100

Type in the words running and taper into Google's search engine and you will get over 12 million hits.  You may find many sites/articles quotes such as, "many runners fail to realize that one of the most important aspects of [marathon] training is the taper phase," (Marathon Training Program: Tapering) and "tapering is imperative for a successful race," (Importance of Tapering from Inspire to Run), and several that provide tips, such as "12 Tips to a Terrific Taper."

You may also spot articles such as, "Performance Page: Don't Taper. Peak! Secrets for peaking on race day," by Greg McMillian (featured in the November 2008 issue of Running Times Magazine).  McMillian noted that, from his perspective, the standard "tapering" model was inconsistent, with results being  just as "hit-or-miss" as when compared with not tapering.  Instead, he put forth his "secrets for your peaking phase -- the last 14 days before your race," which consists of :

1.  Don't change your weekly running routine.
2. Reduce weekly training volume, but not too much.
3. Keep the engine revved.
4. Plan your strategy and stick with it.
5. Reflect on training to build confidence.
6. Have fun and smile.

I am still struggling to figure out how to "taper" or "peak" when it comes to ultras, and have seen somewhat of an inconsistency when applied to my own training/racing.  One situation to look at is the 2010 Pineland Farms 50 Mile, an event that happened to fall right in the middle of some serious training for the 2010 Badwater Ultramarathon.  In the 7 days prior to running the 50-miler, training looked like this :

Sat - 26.20
Sun - 26.20
Mon - 6.00
Tue - 18.20
Wed - 6.10
Thu - 9.25
Fri - 5.00
Sat - 3.20

That's just a tad over 100 miles in the 7 days leading up to the race.  The result - an 8:49:19 personal best at that distance.  Of course, one has to ponder, without those 100 miles, would the result have been even better?

After a solid week of training from 1/30 - 2/5, and with just 5 days to go until the Iron Horse 100, here is a look at what this week of training looked like, and what is planned for the week of the race:

Monday, February 6

Tuesday, February 7
5:22 AM - 3.00 miles in 26:54 (8:57 pace)

Wednesday, February 8
5:10 AM - 5.60 miles in 46:10 (8:15 pace).  Speed-work.  Consistent 10 x 400 at 1:38, 1:38, 1:37, 1:38, 1:34, 1:36, 1:37, 1:37, 1:38 and 1:39.

Thursday, February 9
5:27 AM - 6.00 miles in 55:10 (9:12 pace)

Friday, February 10
7:46 AM - 8.40 miles in 1:14:47 (8:54 pace)

Saturday, February 11
6:51 AM - 11.00 miles in 1:43:23 (9:23 pace).  Light snow.

Sunday, February 12
6:44 AM - 8.00 miles in 1:09:35 (8:42 pace).  18 degree morning with a slight wind.

Total Miles (Week) : 42.00
Average Pace (Week): 8:59
Total Miles (Month): 79.50
Average Pace (Month): 8:52
30-Day Rolling: 249.60 (9:19 avg. pace)

The plan leading up to Long Haul 100 next Saturday.....keep it simple:

Mon. - Off
Tues. - 5k easy
Wed. - Off
Thu. - 5 x 100m
Fri. - 5k easy
Sat. - Race Day


  1. Hi Tony,

    Can't comment on the taper thoughts, but I did want to wish you the best for the Long Haul 100. Have a good trip down to Florida and enjoy your race, as I know you will. Hope to see you soon, Steve

    1. Ah...thank you my friend for reviving the body of the post!!!

      See you soon....when I return.

  2. Great Post Tony, but the Long Haul 100 was back on the 21st of January. I think you are running the Iron Horse 100. Regardless, I get the point of the article. I will be running Umstead on March 30. I hope to meet you there.

    Peter B., Ft Myers, FL

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. No problem. I shouldn't have said anything.

      However, I do enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for the site.

    3. Thanks Pete. And now I have managed to delete the entire post due to editing on my iPad. Hillarious!!!
      Meet you at Umstead.